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Your Host: Jason McCoy

In this episode, we’re going to be discussing the importance of combining web and print for marketing success. By combining the two mediums, you can play off one another’s strengths and weaknesses. More about Web Usability, Web Content Writing, Web Design and User Interface and comparing some web and print examples of the Fortune 500 companies.

Transcripts

You are listening to Rediscover Your Brand Podcast brought to you by ArtVersion Interactive Agency.  

Hello again, and welcome to the Rediscover Your Brand Podcast. My name is Jason McCoy. I’m going to be your host today and this is episode #3. Today we’re going to be discussing the importance of combining web and print for marketing success. 

Before we get into today’s episode, I want to let you know we’re planning an upcoming question and answer podcast episode that’s going to be featuring your questions. If you’d like to submit a question to be featured on our upcoming Q&A episode, all you have to do is go to our website, it’s podcast.artversion.com. Again, that’s podcast.artversion.com to submit your questions. And we will include your question in our upcoming question and answer episode, which we’re going to be doing in just a couple of weeks.  

Alright, getting into today’s episode, web marketing seems to be taking over the world, and for good reason. A solid website and web marketing campaign can do more for a business than most people realize. However, today we’d like to suggest that a campaign that uses both web and print can make an even stronger statement. By simply combining the two mediums, you can play off one another’s strengths and weaknesses.  

For example, web articles need to be shorter and have more white space and only use specific fonts to help the eye from getting overly tired. Therefore, print would be a great way to put out longer pieces of information, such as a long brochure. Putting information on the web means that it’s available to potential customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It also doesn’t have a mailing cost, and you can allow customers to easily download PDFs of brochures and forms. 

The key is to be totally consistent in your design. If you have different colors, graphics or messages from print to web, it’s only going to confuse customers and devalue your efforts. The images and ideas that you have on your website should naturally flow to any print. However by mailing marketing materials to customers, you’re making the statement that you are invested in what you do. You are legitimizing your business.  

There are so many pros and cons to both print and web. While web is definitely the place to concrete most marketing efforts, incorporating a print campaign can add authority to any marketing effort.  

From here, let’s explore the benefits and weaknesses to both, and then we’ll discuss why it’s a good idea to combine the two to make it even stronger statement.  

As you already know, websites are essential for any company. Doesn’t matter what the company does, if it’s a service or product, you need a website. Not only are websites a source of information for customers, they are also an inexpensive way to market. 

There are some key elements that need to be kept in mind in order for a website to be successful though. Designing a great website is more than picking a color scheme and slapping on a header. The truly great and successful websites have a few elements that need to be top notch in order for the website to wow. 

First on the list is web content. A website without content is just art. Therefore content is King and must come first. Good content can be broken down into two parts. The first part is that content needs to be well written, easy to read and it should achieve its goal. Whether that’s to sell products or communicate a story. If the content doesn’t achieve what it set out to do, the whole website is a bust.  

Web content is the most important part of a website. It informs readers of the information that they came to find. Key ideas or important facts should be easy to locate and stand out on the web page. Main ideas should be clearly stated with supporting ideas kept to a minimum. 

Having too much unnecessary text has the potential to turn off readers. Web content should be written in an easy to follow manner. When possible, try to avoid using abbreviations. Use familiar words in web content and avoid the temptation of using terminology that is not common knowledge. Visitors should feel like they can easily understand what is being said without having to stop and look up the meanings of words. 

The second part to content is the way that it’s arranged on the website. It needs to flow so the eye naturally goes to the next sentence, paragraph or page. The first sentence in each paragraph should house the main idea. Paragraphs should make sense and transition easily from topic to topic. 

Hey, we’ve all been there. You go to a website trying to find out a little more information and within minutes you are so disgusted with the organization that you’re turned off. Who has the time to spend trying to decipher what a company is saying on a website? You don’t, and neither do your customers. 

The second element that needs to be top notch on your website is web usability. Good website design means that visitors should be able to go from point A to point B by following a natural path that requires no heavy thought. 

Keep it simple. Some websites choose to have many many tabs which can be confusing. However, there are good ways and bad ways to navigate these tabs. As long as they are organized and logically move from one to another, using a lot of tabs can be a great way to organize information. 

To show you what I mean, let’s look at 2 examples. Our first example is Bank of America. Their website is designed to keep it simple. Immediately upon visiting their site, you’re faced with the most prominent feature in bright red echoing the company colors. The online sign in for their website.This is an excellent choice for an attention grabber, considering most visitors are probably trying to check on their accounts.  

But let’s say that they aren’t looking to log into their accounts, rather another reason. No problem. There are five main tabs that would be hard to miss. Bank, borrow, invest, protect, plan. That pretty much sums up what Bank of America has to offer its customers and doesn’t leave the reader searching for longer than needed within minutes. A current or potential customer has the access to open a new account, refinance their mortgage, invest their money, or look into insurance options. 

Their website is simple, easy to navigate and draws attention where it is needed.You don’t find a lot of added or unnecessary text. If a customer is not interested in life insurance, they don’t have to navigate through several paragraphs on life insurance until they find the banking information. By keeping the tabs simple, the customer chooses what they would like to see. 

Now, another similar example, let’s look at Citigroup. Unlike Bank of America, Citigroup has designed their website to attract not just individuals, but also investors and corporations. It has multiple dimensions to it, so naturally it’s not quite as simple. 

Keeping this in mind, it’s still rather easy for a reader to navigate their website. 

Citigroup presents its readers with a rotating visual display that showcases its most important attributes. It has a section for the individual looking to log into their accounts, a business trying to up their cash flow, as well as corporations. Both of these companies deal with banking and are successful Fortune 500 companies. 

But because they’re marketing to a different target audience, their approach to their websites are different. Both companies do a good job keeping their site navigation rather simple. 

The next element that needs to be top notch is web design. Web design is very important. A bad design can ruin a website and cause visitors to turn away. The design needs to look professional and have a theme that runs through the entire site from the header to the footer to the sidebar. The look should be cohesive. 

Your website should show the company’s theme and purpose right away. It’s a place for the character of your company to shine through as well as to reinforce branding.A website should feel like a complete unit with no missing elements. It should be interactive and engaging.  

In today’s multimedia world, it takes a little more to get our attention. We’re used to being entertained by multiple dimensions and getting our information fast. Your website should reflect that. Give your viewers a reason to want to return time and time again.Give them a sense of purpose and encourage them to feel empowered. They should leave your sight feeling better than they did when they arrived.  

Let’s look at another example: Walmart. Love him or hate him, Walmart has been ranked number one on the Fortune 500 list two years in a row. Coincidence? Not really. 

Successful companies are successful for a reason. This is evident even when you take a look at their website. You’re instantly greeted with the highlights of what they’re selling. This week, for instance, is all about summer. Fun pictures of various outdoor items are displayed, as well as items for taking a summer road trip. Tires are on sale, portable DVD players as well as GPS systems are all featured. There is an advertisement for Kraft featuring a famous summer pastime: S’mores. 

And towards the bottom of the page, you will find a college summer checklist. Walmart knows what a customer has on their mind at this particular moment. Their goal is to be prepared and to be one step ahead of their customers. They want to be ready when their customers are looking for their summertime items. And if they haven’t started thinking of it yet, Walmart wants to get them started on it. 

Not only is the Walmart layout familiar to the returning customer, it evokes a positive feeling and a sense of purpose. Perhaps you were just visiting to get some pictures printed, but now you’re instantly aware that summer is upon us. You’ve been meaning to go camping with your family at that lakeside retreat a few hours away, especially before your oldest child goes off to college. You really should get tires on the car before you leave, and it would be helpful to have a GPS system to navigate the trip. 

You can’t have the camp out without a tent, and of course it goes without saying that you need to get the necessary ingredients to roast s’mores. 

Good thing you can accomplish all of these tasks under one roof. Walmart knows how important a good design is and because of it they reap the rewards. 

OK, so we’ve seen the benefits of having a good web design and making sure your content is informative and effective. But what about print? Is there a place in today’s world for good old fashioned print?  

The answer is yes. Print can be a powerful advertising tool. Advertising in a newspaper allows you to reach an enormous amount of people without being intrusive. 

In addition, it’s usually a lower cost method of advertising. Going with a magazine allows a company to focus in on a specific target audience. If your target audience is sports players, then advertising in Sports Illustrated would make the most sense. Likewise, if you’re trying to target teenage girls, advertising in 17 magazine would capture a large amount of your target audience.  

Most magazine readers are loyal subscribers. Seeing your company advertised in their favorite magazine will help add to your credibility with the customer. 

Another bonus of magazines is that they have a long lifespan. They will often be passed on to friends or family or even sit in a doctor’s office where hundreds of people will read it.  

In addition to magazine or newspaper advertisements, there are other types of prints. A brochure or another similar kind of print suggests that your credible. It instantly shows that you’re investing money into your company and that you’re more than a fly-by-night business. 

It also helps to reinforce your product, inform your customer and persuade them that they need to do business with you. It’s a familiar source of information for most people. 

This being said, let’s take a second to discuss the negatives of prints. It is expensive to print brochures, advertisements and flyers, not to mention the cost of postage can really add up. In addition, it’s not easy to change prints if you happen to discover a mistake or want to go in a different direction.  

Web marketing, on the other hand, is very inexpensive. And as we have already discussed, is a very successful way to market. But what about combining the two? There are many benefits of combining print and media. 

It’s important to understand why a company needs to be consistent in their message and their branding. A customer that feels comfortable with the company is likely to come back time and time again. When faced between a company that they don’t know well and one that they are familiar with, they are more likely to go with what is familiar. 

That being said, it is very important that whatever information you put out, it stays the same. Your company, message, colors, logo and fonts should stay the same regardless if we’re talking about a letterhead, a website or a brochure. 

Going back to our Walmart example, when a customer gets the Sunday paper and looks at the Walmart advertisement, they can already relate because it has the same look and feel as the website. The print and the website both use the same logo and colors and all of the other marketing materials put out by Walmart. Because of this, the customer knows where to look and where to be directed, therefore giving them a sense of security and familiarity. 

The message is the same no matter if they’re looking at a print or at a screen. Always low prices, always Walmart. That’s what they see. From this example, we can see the importance of consistency. Keep it simple, keep it consistent and you will keep your customer.  

Well, that’s it for episode #3 of Rediscover Your Brand. 

Don’t forget if you enjoyed this episode, please take a minute to rate the show on iTunes. Also, don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/art version or connect with us and like us on Facebook: facebook.com/artversion. 

If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to send us an email. Our email address is [email protected] We would love to hear from you.  

To get more information on ArtVersion, visit our website at artversion.com.  

Also, I want to remind you about our upcoming Question and Answer podcast episode, Where we will answer your questions. To submit your question and have it featured on our upcoming Q&A episode, go to our website at podcast.artversion.com. You can submit your question and we will include your question in our upcoming episode. 

Be sure to join us next time on the Rediscover Your Brand Podcast. Episode #4 we will be going into detail about the many factors you need to consider before embarking on a website redesign, and we’ll also explain user interface design. That’s next time.  

Until then, thank you for listening. I’m Jason McCoy helping you rediscover your brand, you have been listening to the Rediscover Your Brand Podcast, made possible thanks to support from ArtVersion Interactive Agency.